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Robert Schwentke Ready To Get 'R.I.P.D.' With Reynolds Thursday 9th September 2010

In Hollywood, until you're somebody you're nobody. Even guys like Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott were once unknown to the masses and struggling to make a name for themselves. With success comes notoriety and notoriety gets you more work, so it's no surprise that Robert Schwentke is in the news. His first two films - the jumbo-jet-set thriller Flightplan and the sci-fi romance The Time Traveler's Wife - were both profitable for their respective studios and Universal Pictures has taken notice, giving him the keys to the Rest In Peace Department, better known as R.I.P.D.

The project is based on a Dark Horse comic book property of the same name that follows two detectives - one recently deceased, one long-dead - who take on paranormal cases. Ryan Reynolds committed to the gig earlier in the summer, but the second lead hasn't been filled yet. Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, who scripted this year's Clash of the Titans, wrote the screenplay for the film, while Mike Richardson, founder and President of Dark Horse, and Lawrence Gordon will produce for Dark Horse Entertainment. Neal Moritz is producing through his Original Film banner.

Schwentke is now in a great position to really make a mark on the industry. He's taking notes from Danny Boyle as he jumps from one genre to the next, proving that there's no story he can't tell. Additionally, Red, the Summit Entertainment DC Comics adaptation that he directed, is tracking very well and has an upper hand on its competition when it releases on October 15th as it's the only action film hitting theaters next month. It should benefit from the lack of similar programming during that frame and open to relatively big considering it's exciting and eclectic cast. With R.I.P.D., he has another opportunity to make a commercial blockbuster with big stars and big effects and make a big name for himself.

By Daniel Hubschman


M. Night Shyamalan Reveals His Plans for an 'Unbreakable' Sequel Wednesday 8th September 2010

Despite the deluge of comic book adaptations that have made their way to the big screen in the last decade, M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable remains one of my favorite superhero movies of all time, and proves beyond a doubt that Shyamalan can be an extremely masterful filmmaker when he takes his time with a story and sticks to the basics - like character development - which he overlooked with The Last Airbender. So I was intrigued to see on MTV's Splashpage the elusive director talking explicitly about a possible sequel to his 2000 thriller and its connection to his planned 'Night Chronicles' trilogy, of which the upcoming Devil is the first part.

'I cannibalized the idea for the sequel to Unbreakable for one of the 'Night Chronicles,' Shyamalan told MTV's Josh Horowitz. 'It was such a cool idea for a villain, and it was actually originally in the script for Unbreakable, and it was too much. There were too many villains, so I pulled this villain out and was like, 'I'll make this the second flick.''.

But as time went on, Shyamalan's villain came to be co-opted into his upcoming 'Night Chronicles' trilogy, which he will neither write nor direct, though he conceived the stories and will produce - a smart move after The Last Airbender received such negative criticism. 'I fleshed it out more and more, and thought, 'This could be a standalone movie,' he continued. 'I'll just say it: the third 'Night Chronicles' movie is what would have been the sequel [to Unbreakable]. So now I need to come up with a new idea.'.

I, for one, hope Shyamalan develops a bad case of writer's block. Unbreakable was a fantastic movie - probably the director's best - but not one that requires a sequel. What made the film great was its hidden (spoilers ahead!) setup: it's a superhero origin story disguised as a slow-paced drama about a failed marriage. What makes the movie work is that we don't realize we're watching Bruce Willis becoming a hero almost until the very end; it's one of the few Shyamalan 'gotcha' twists that really works (unlike in The Village). A sequel could only be another superhero movie, which would lack the magic and mystery of the original. Still, I'm intrigued that a character and storyline that Shyamalan had planned for Unbreakable or its sequel will be coming to the screen as the third installment of the director's 'Night Chronicles' project.

By Ben Landy

Olivia Thirlby Joins 'Judge Dredd' Monday 6th September 2010

Olivia Thirlby -- best known as Ellen Page's hip-speaking bestie in Juno -- has been cast in the upcoming 3D adaptation of Judge Dredd. She stars opposite Karl Urban (Star Trek) as a telepathic rookie who shadows his character, Dredd.

Pete Travis (Vantage Point) is directing the Alex Garland (Sunshine, 28 Days Later) penned script. The film has a budget of $45 million and starts shooting later this year in South Africa. The film's producers have confirmed that Dredd will be a stand alone film, not connected at all to the Sylvester Stallone film from the '90s (thankfully! eesh!).


Barry Levinson to Direct Horror Flick 'The Bay' Thursday 2nd September 2010

Mother Earth is coming for us - through the eyes of director Barry Levinson.

The Oscar-winner, known for his direction of Rain Man and Bandits, is directing a new 'zombie eco-horror thriller' (whatever that is) called The Bay. The team behind Paranormal Activity, including director Oren Peli and producers Jason Blum and Steven Schneider, is assisting in production of the film.

Previously known as Isopod, the film tells its story of a viral outbreak in Claridge, Maryland in a nontraditional manner - through a collection of camera phone accounts, 911 calls, and other mediums. Spooky! Looks like Levinson is trying to create his film in a new and fresh way, but we can't help but wonder, Blair Witch Project anyone?Sadly, no other details plot details are known about The Bay. But, the term 'eco-horror' elicits one movie in our mind: The Happening. And boy, did that suuuck! Here's to hoping that with Levinson's steady hand and strong resume of character development, The Bay will be a success.

By Eric Sundermann

Screen Daily

Four Cast Members Join 'Final Destination 5' Wednesday 1st September 2010

The cast for Final Destination 5, a.k.a. 5inal Destination, just added four new members: David Koechner, Nicholas D'Agosto, P.J. Byrne, and Ellen Wroe.

Koechner (The Office, Anchorman) is the biggest name on the list. He's playing a clueless executive (imagine that!), and will probably die from a stapler to the forehead while galloping around the office, screaming 'yeehawww!'

D'Agosto (Heroes) plays a guy who doesn't make a fast decision on his own life - which definitely doesn't sound like it ends well. Byrne (Dinner for Schmucks) will be an obnoxious kleptomaniac (who probably steals from death - haha! get it?); and Wroe (Huge) plays a snobby gymnast and daughter of a company executive - so yeah, she'll die pretty quick.

The four new members join Miles Fisher (that dude who looks like Christian Bale). 5inal Destination is penned by Eric Heisserer (A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), The Thing) and produced by Craig Perry. The film starts shooting on September 13 in Vancouver.

By Eric Sundermann

The Hollywood Reporter

'Pacific' Emmy-Winner McKenna Plans 3D World War II Flick Tuesday 31st August 2010

After not surprising anyone by winning the Emmy for Best Miniseries, The Pacific's co-executive producer and writer Bruce McKenna wants some more and according to Deadline, he'll have his chance.

Last week, McKenna pitched The Battle of Midway to Warner Bros - a 3D film telling the story of the 3-day long battle in the Pacific Ocean which is touted by history professors as the turning point in the naval war against the Japanese. The studio must have liked it, because they bought it and are fast tracking the film. McKenna is expected to turn in a script in eight weeks and the movie will cost around $200 million.

No word on casting yet, but Tom Hanks will probably be involved in some capacity (either as a producer on the project or hopefully as a star, but don't hold your breath).

This isn't the first time the Battle of Midway will be captured on film. In 1942, director John Ford won an Oscar for his documentary short film, The Battle of Midway, using real footage shot by the Navy. Then in 1976, Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, James Coburn, and Hal Halbrook starred in Midway - another take on the famous battle in the Pacific Theatre.

This one may not have real footage or Henry Fonda, but according to Warner Bros, the production will be influenced by more recent rousing war films like Saving Private Ryan or Pearl Harbor. Hopefully, more of Saving Private Ryan. Hopefully.

By Eric Sundermann

Deadline Hollywood

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